Friday, August 31, 2012

More Government and Less Freedom

I was watching Marco Rubio’s speech last night at the GOP convention, waiting for Tia to get home after trimming. I was half playing Bejeweled when I heard Rubio say

“We chose more government instead of more freedom”.

Huh? I had to stop what I was doing and rewind it. Then again. Did he really say that? It’s the complete opposite of what I’d expect a conservative to say. However that was what he said. So I searched online for the transcript, which was leaked early, and saw this:

“We chose more freedom instead of more government.”

That’s what I thought he wanted to say, but that’s not what he said. Quite a gaffe, but just that. A gaffe.

I have seen a few interviews with Rubio, and I like him. He seems to be more of a critical thinking, rational conservative that recognizes we need to do better, but we also need compassion and thought for different groups that make up this country as we move forward. He always seems to be restraining himself a bit, and trying to make sure he sticks to the GOP party line, though it’s not really what he believes.

I liked his speech, and I suspect this is a stepping stone for him to move forward in GOP leadership in the future. Hopefully this also means he will bring about some more tolerance, rationality, and balance to what seems to be an extremely right wing agenda.

Keep Pressing

I'm getting sick. I can feel it, nose running, throat slightly sore. I  had the day off, and plans, so I managed to get outside and pour water into the holes I was digging and use the auger to drill them out. Twice. Once after I took Kendall to the bus, and once after I took a break and had some coffee this morning.

I managed to get them dug out a bit, but more to do, so water is in there now.

In between I also did some work on the saddle racks, getting two of them built, though I need to hooks to hang them.

After the second drilling session, and third time pouring in water, I came in. I was a bit worn out, but needed to run. I have a massage booked at 2:00 and I wanted to relax a bit after that.

I went downstairs, but remembered that today was a lifting day. So I lifted. A quick, 30 min, session doing legs and then a nice run. I kept starting to rationalize skipping weights, but then decided that I needed to just do the work. Even a short session is better than nothing.

Each day builds on the last, so skipping days at this age means I'm not building things.

Asked Delaney to come, but he didn't. He was feeling sick last night, an ear infection come down (we think), and still bothering him this morning, so we let him stay home.

Wake Up America

It's subtle, and most people probably would hear the message (which is fantastic), but it's also a misogynistic tone to it. He this, he that, and ending with pictures of women. Support our soldiers, and honor their efforts, but let's remember it's boys and girls, men and women that honor our country and lay down their lives. When we forget to talk about women, we also forget to emphasize how important their contributions are to the world.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


I took a couple days off to work on a few chores. As usual, I was slow getting going this morning. I went with Tia while she fed, and she showed me where she wanted a new horse shelter. I then back out to measure the existing one and get an idea of what to buy at Home Depot.

It was a long trip at HD, especially loading 36 10' or longer pieces of lumber into a cart, into the truck, and then getting them home and unloading them.

I did manage to laminate my 2x6s together for the posts and measured out the holes. As time was running low, I started digging with the tractor, but hit a lot of clay. I think I'll need to dump some water in them in the am (if it doesn't rain) and then drill again.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pajama Day

For Kendall. Once again the start of school, and waking up extra early, has a kid getting sick. She was looking bad last night, and struggled to move this morning, so I told her to just sleep in.

Hopefully she'll be better tomorrow.

She's spent all day like this:

Dare to Disagree

This talk on disagreement and openness is very thought provoking. I tend to agree with it, but at what point does disagreement become disharmony? How do you teach the skills to argue and disagree passionately, but do so rationally and still come to a resolution on how to move forward?

It seems in politics we have no problem with argument and disagreement. What we lack (in my opinion) is the critical thinking and civil debate we seem to lack.

Dare to Disagree

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Unemployment and Jobs

Last week I had to drive down to Colorado Springs to help a friend and ended up listening to some AM talk radio while out on the Eastern plains. It’s always amusing to me to listen to either an extremely right or left wing talk show person, though I did realize I lean more liberal since the conservatives ring less true to me overall. Not completely untrue, but less true.

In any case, I heard someone talking about unemployment and jobs, and couldn’t tell if this was schtick or reality. So I decided to look at things a bit.

Unemployment rate by the numbers:


and in graph form.


Not a great job under the Obama administration. I don’t necessarily blame him for the 2008 numbers, perhaps not all of the 2009 numbers, but he does share some blame there. We’re still 0.5% higher than when he took office. Near the end of the Bush administration we could all tell that things were trending down and we were in for a rough time.

However I’ve heard over and over that we have more and more new jobs every month, though at a much lower level than we’d like. Instead of 300,000-400,000 new jobs, I keep hearing numbers closer to 100,000.

However when I look at the employment levels for this year using BLS statistics I see this:

Month in 2012 Employment Difference from previous
Jan 141,637,000

Feb 142,065,000


Mar 142,034,000


Apr 141,865,000


May 142,287,000


June 142,415,000


Jul 142,220,000


A net increase this year, but not a lot. The total is 583,000 jobs.

If we look back to Jan 2008, we had employment at 146,397,000, which was substantially higher than where we are now. In Jan 2009, we had 142,187,000, which is about where we were in Mar/Apr of this year.

Throughout 2010/2011, we were gaining, after a low point of Dec 2009 with 137,968,000.

Clearly we’re on the right track. The question is, would we do better, accelerate this growth under different policies? I’m sure we could do worse, but if we had lower taxes, less regulation, would the economy grow more with more jobs?

That’s a tough question. I think about articles like this one on the cheapest generation, and on the ways in which people have viewed the world, and I’m not sure business would be investing more and increasing output if we had different policies. I’ve found across my life, in various businesses, that people take advantage of opportunities, regardless of the taxes. Regulation can prevent some investments, but are they significant?

The much talked about Keystone pipeline, which I oppose, talks about creating jobs, but it’s hard to tell how many. Backers say 20k jobs, which is a good number, but noise in the grand scheme of trying for 300,000 jobs a month. Other estimates are lower, in the 5k range, which sounds better. The other problem is that many of those jobs are temporary. A few years, but not permanent. Then we’re sending lots of money to Canadian companies. I like Canada, but not that much.

I don’t think Obama has done much, nor this Congress, to really grow jobs. They’ve been too busy fighting for sure, but they are both talking about changes to corporations, primarily large corporations. I think that’s a huge mistake, and it leads to discussions like this one (which go nowhere).

The reason I think it’s a mistake is simple. Large firms, let’s say with 100 or more people, numbered 108,000 or so in 2008. They employed, in aggregate, about 78 million people. Small firms, those with less employees number over 5,000,000, and employed about 40 million. Less, but let’s add in those companies that don’t act as employers (self-employed). There’s 21,000,000 of those.

We should be supporting small companies, and trying to effect real change with smaller companies. Stop giving breaks or talking about any tax loopholes for larger companies. They can profit already and don’t need more help.


An update appointment this morning for both kids. I remembered after I woke up both kids, so they missed a chance to sleep in. I told them to go back to bed for an hour, which I did. Kendall went to watch a movie and Delaney got dressed and played XBOX. At least they’re getting up easier.

Both kids are doing well. They’re still growing, so we elected to delay ortho work for at least another year. Since they have underbites, putting on braces might not work well with their growth.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Book #64 - Final Vector

I picked up Final Vector for free at Amazon and enjoyed it. It's a thriller, and it's written OK (not great), but enjoyable. We have an air traffic controller in New Hampshire, responsible for traffic into Boston. His wife is an auditor for the Pentagon and she uncovers someone that's selling information. On the way home one weekend, she's killed by someone who is buying the information.

The book somewhat goes into the thriller area here. The stories get tied together as the terrorists plan to kill the President with Stinger missiles they stole using the information from the Pentagon. They plan to take over the air traffic control site and direct Air Force One into a place where they can shoot the missiles.

The book is brutal and graphic in how the terrorists kill people, and the writing doesn't build great suspense as the plot unfolds, but it's still enjoyable. This was a fun weekend read.


A friend took some pix. Here's the double I hit.

Ending on a High Note

Our last baseball game of the season was yesterday and we finished on a high note, winning fairly easily. I believe we end up 8-10, and we'll be in the playoffs. Only a couple teams had winning records, so this wasn't too bad.

We only had 9 yesterday, but we played well, mostly making plays and hitting well. I ended up at short all day, and while I had a good game in the field, it was a hard one. Lots of running to back up third or second, chasing a shallow fly into left that I almost got, picking up 4 grounders and making plays at first or second. A good game. The downfall was running to cover second on a play up the middle and not being able to handle the throw at my knees as I was running. Just couldn't catch it. Then the next play was almost the same, and the second basemen picked it up a the bag and dropped it. I was running over and tried to grab it off the ground and bobbled it. Crazy.

Other than that it was good. I saw the ball well at the plate. I grounded out the first time, then a hard fly to right center for a double, popped out to SS when I got under a beautiful pitch. I regretted that one. I really need to learn to go to the opposite field. I walked the next time on four pitches, and then faced a knuckleball left hander that baffled me. Swung at bad pitches, let a third strike go once and looked away on the another. Ugh. 1-4, BB, not a great day.

A long, slow, hard game on a 90F day. I was worn out and tired by the end of the 5th and ready to call it quits. Just worn out, with a tired back and hips. I definitely need some swinging during the week. Even free swinging.

Now two weeks off until we hit the playoffs. I'm hoping that's just one week. I'm ready for the season to end and winter to start.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Making lots of sawdust outside. Cut the wood for braces and 2 more saddle racks, routed the profile to round it, and got everything stacked inside. Lots of sawdust, but not a lot of progress. I'll have to screw things together tonight or tomorrow.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Two Days in One

That's what it feels like. I was up at 5am to take Delaney to school for his cross country scrimmage. We had him packed up, I made some toast, and we drove to catch the 6am bus for his first meet. He looked good in his red and white Cardinals gear, and I was hoping he'd do well.

Then I came home and went to sleep.

I got up at 9, getting ready for the day. Kendall had a game at 11 and I was thinking we'd get Delaney right after, but Delaney texted just after 10 and said he was almost back. I raced to get him at school, coming home only long enough to switch kids and then Kendall and I went to her game.

We were late, but she got in the first game, which they lost. Too much standing around and not returning serves. The second and third games they woke up and had some great plays and better serves. Good returns and I think this team could have beaten her second place team. The four kids that played in the other league were much better, but more important, they worked together and the other ones were active.

A good game, a win for the first match, and Kendall did well.

Home and work for me, since I lost most of yesterday helping a friend move. I got some things done and then took some pictures in Tia's clinic, ran, and now to the hardware store to grab some supplies and work on a project or two.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Good for Lance

Good for Lance and his charity. Whether he was guilty or not, this whole USADA thing was nonsense. A waste of time and money, and doesn't prove anything. For all his success and accolades, he's done more for charity and others than for himself. This should never have been pursued.


I read his statement, and it makes sense to me. If he did something that got around testing, so did others. The fact that he was tested over and over and over, hundreds of times across years without issue makes me doubt there is anything to this pursuit by the USADA.

A Lost Day

We did get something done today. We closed on a refinance for one of our rentals. A notary came to the house this morning and we ran through the papers, signing for about 15min and we were done.

Then I headed out to help a friend move. I was thinking it would be 3 hours tops, but didn't realize it was down in the Springs. It was about 3 hours to load, and then about an hour to eat and get to the new place, which was South of the Springs. All told, I didn't get home until 6, though I did get to drive up the back way through Elbert.

A good deed, but a hard one.

And I ran. I did that.

Book # 63 - Plague

41H2LCxfXjL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-65,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Another free one from Amazon, Plague is a Contagion-type thriller. It starts with a tour in South America where one of the people gets sick and dies. The guide flies back to Hawaii and we have some inkling he’s doing to get sick.

The book then jumps to a CDC researcher (Susan) and a USAMRIID worker (Duncan) and we move between them, along with a CIA type agent (Richard) and various people that get sick. The infection spreads rapidly in Honolulu, and it appears to be a black pox (similar to smallpox) variation, but one that rapidly claims people. As the infection grows, the island comes under martial law and you can guess how bad things get.

The thriller part comes near the end as Susan, Duncan and others go to track down the source in South America, only to find out it’s a US plot of some sort. The author wisely doesn’t go into much detail, and ends things suddenly.

Reading this makes me appreciate how much better a writer like Robin Cook is. The characters are light, the writing is easy to read, but not great. Good, but not anything that stands out. Worth a read if you like this style of book.

Second Place

Last night was Kendall’s championship game at the Elevation Volleyball league. Her team faltered on Tuesday and lots both matches. They actually lost all 3 games in the first match, something they haven’t done all season. They won the first game of the second match, but then lost the last two. Kendall was late for the first one (had to convince her to go after a hard day at school), played in 4 games, and then sat the last two with a sore ankle. Her team fell apart and couldn’t serve for some reason.

Photo Aug 22, 5 59 04 PM


Wednesday they were seeded #2, and had a bye. They were more energetic, and with only 6 of them, they won both games easily, not even needing the third. In the other match were both teams they’d lost to on Tuesday. It was exciting watching the third game of that match, which was to 15, but came down to a tight 16-14 win by the team that has two of my players from our other league.

Photo Aug 22, 6 06 54 PM

Last night I had to pick up Delaney from cross country, which went fairly smooth and since I got home around 5:15, I raced over to try and catch the championship. I missed the first game (they lost), but then they played well and won the second easily. In the third, however, they somewhat fell apart. Didn’t serve well, energy went down, and after 5-5 tie, they fell apart, losing by 5 or 6.

Somewhat disappointing, but not too bad. An exciting set of matches for Kendall, and we congratulated the other two that we'll play with on Saturday as our other league starts.  Kendall got a medal for 2nd place, some great experience, she played well with a taped ankle, and we had got a nice group shot at the end.

Photo Aug 23, 6 20 00 PM

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Girls and Coding

Very interesting. Not sure I completely agree, but I do think that many professions have a cultural bias that we consciously or unconsciously install in the majority of kids. It's not necessarily gender, but might be ethic or economically based. Until we solve some of that, not sure we will increase the diversity of many areas.

Girls and Coding: female peer pressure scares them off

The Siri-like Home Assistant

Would you use this type of assistant? It sounds really cool and this is the type of thing I saw in “homes of the future” as a kid. It’s something I’ve thought about, but when I think deeper, I’m not sure I’d use it.

I like to do things myself. As much as opening/closing windows are, or turning lights on or off, I think there’s some value in my going to manipulate the environment. Frist it’s a touch of exercise, but it also keeps me in tune with the environment. As much as I hate getting up to turn off the light, I think it’s good for me not to depend on too much.

Siri is interesting to me. There are times, like when I’m cooking, I wish I could have something flip pages or manipulate the iPad or other device for me. Or read me news. The problem is I’m not sure how I’d want it to work since I rapidly change tasks, need to pause things, etc. Would a digital assistant work? Would it remove some thinking time from me that I don’t realize I need?

I rarely change the temp, worry about alarms, lights, sound, etc. It’s a habit for me to just turn things on/off as I enter/leave rooms. About the only thing I might want to do is kick of the fans in the bathroom after some time, but that could be handled with a timer and a digital assistant might be overkill.

I’m torn on this, though I should think it through longer. Maybe it’s something that could improve life.

Learning about Driving

This is nice, a year long safety pilot from the University of Michigan. Quite extensive, using 3,000 cars to gather data. I don’t know what they’ll get out of this, and if you read the comments, there’s all kinds of speculation, but it’s a good idea, in my opinion.

Many of the commenters are trying to come up with results before the data in this case. Do we need better driver training? Better design? Driverless cars? Who knows? We should get the data and then decide how to proceed.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Book #62 The Lion, the Lamb, the Hunted

51W9pXkozNL._SX105_I picked this book from Amazon’s recommendation engine and wasn’t disappointed. The Lion, the Lamb, the Hunted is quite the thriller that I had a hard time putting down. It’s a bit of a mystery that draws you in as one man, a reporter, must investigate his past.

At the funeral of his mother, the grown reporter is rather withdrawn. We learn that his mother was never kind to him, in fact, the arguably abused him psychologically as a child. He’s grown to get past some of it, but not all. As he’s leaving, he discovers a piece of jewelry and a strange letter from his uncle to his mother that makes him suspect them of murder in the past.

The book mostly deals with the journey as the reporter goes to Texas and investigates. That’s his job for a national magazine, and we find him using his skills to uncover what might have happened decades ago. The book alternates between the present, and then relevant portions of his childhood as they might relate to his investigation.

It’s exciting, and even though I suspected the outcome near the middle of the book, I really enjoyed this one.

Why I Like Amazon more than Barnes and Noble

For years I’ve enjoyed wandering into Barnes and Nobles stores, browsing the stacks and getting a cup of coffee. They do a nice job, and it’s been one of my favorite book stores in many cities when I’m traveling.

A few years ago I moved to mostly e-reading of books. It was a little of an economic choice when Amazon started selling books for $9.99 instead of the $15 or so that many new books cost in hardback. It’s also very convenient for me. I have bought more and more Amazon books than BN ones, even though I have a library of 30 or 40 books on my BN apps. However BN doesn’t provide many low cost or free books. They’re getting better, but they haven’t made it that easy to find them. I understand, but that turns me off a bit.

I have a Kindle device, one of the refurbished Kindle 3s with special offers. It cost me $30, which was hard to beat. So I tend to visit Amazon, but there was something that struck me yesterday about my experiences with both companies.

Earlier this year I had a gift card from BN and ordered a few books, some of which were not published. One was The Unincorporated Future, the end of a series that my son and I have enjoyed. It published on Tuesday, and I went to check the BN site. I found the book in the “shipped” status, but no tracking. Today it shows as arrived in Englewood, CO, but a delivery estimate of Thursday.

Not a big deal, though my son is hoping to start reading this one first.

A few years back I ordered Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows early from Amazon. The day it was released, it appeared at my house about 4:00, just as my oldest was getting home from school.

It was cool, and somewhat unexpected, but since that happened (and it happened with other books from Amazon), I can’t help but feel a little disappointed in BN. I know they have the books early because the books will be on shelves on publication day. Why can’t they get it to me on that day?

I’ll still visit their stores, but their web service and e-content has disappointed me a few too many times for me to go back online.

Sports Challenges

A rough for both kids yesterday. Kendall had a hard run in her PE class and then complained her feet were too sore for volleyball. I took her and cheered her up, getting her into the game, but she rolled her ankle and didn’t play in half the games. We have more tonight, so we’ll need to tape her up and get her motivated again.

On the plus side, she forgot her clothes for PE today, so no running.

Delaney had a hard practice as well. Yesterday was speed day (on the track), which is hard, and he didn’t have much water. He wants to keep going, but it seems he might be getting shin splints a bit. We need to help him restrain himself a little and keep running, but taking it a bit easier. We’re also thinking we may bike with him one day a week instead of practice.

Tough for the kids, even tougher as they’re now up at 6:00am for school.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Personal Library

I used to love having bookshelves, and planned on having a library in my house some day. I haven’t gotten there and probably never will. Already I’m on the journey, like this poster, of moving to less books.

We have bookshelves in our house that are built in. The family room is mostly full

Photo Aug 20, 10 37 28 AM

and our master bedroom is overflowing with books, some stacked 2 deep and 2 high.

Photo Aug 20, 10 37 54 AM

Even Kendall has lots

Photo Aug 20, 10 38 11 AM

But I rarely buy new books anymore in print. I don’t have anything against them, and I’ve actually purchased 5 or 6 this year, but that pales in comparison with the 30 or so digital copies I’ve bought. I actually am thinking of how Tia and I can get by with less, maybe travel around in a camper/trailer sometime with a laptop, a Kindle, and a few changes of clothes (and my cast iron cookware), living a more simple life.

I love books, but I mostly love them for the content. I will still get some books in print, and I am using the library more, but the majority of what I‘ll read will be digital from now on.


While driving home Sat, I saw an email that a movie had been rented from Amazon at home. I sent a note to Kendall and she said she had paid for it.

This morning I noticed this on my desk.

Photo Aug 20, 9 04 54 AM


This past weekend was the Ordeal for Order of the Arrow at the Scout camp near our house. Delaney was nominated in his troop last year and had his ordeal in April, 2011. It’s a weekend where the kids work for a day, taking a vow of silence for 24 hours, and they sleep out under the stars, with no tent. Delaney got through it fine, even with a light snow that night. Once you go through that, you’re a brotherhood candidate. After 10 months, being active in OA, you have the chance to become a full brother.

A few weeks ago I asked Delaney if he wanted to go to this weekend and he did, so he registered and expected to be in charge of other kids that were on their ordeal. I dropped him off with his pack, a sleeping bag, and a tarp (no tent) on Friday. He registered, verified dues were paid, and found out that he wasn’t in charge of kids since they had enough, but

He called us Fri night, having flashlight issues. One of the leaders helped him and got replacement batteries, and things were fine. I got a call from him Saturday morning that he’d be done Saturday night, and it was an easy day. I drove down there and found him waiting with all his stuff on Saturday night, his new Brotherhood sash (with the horizontal stripes).

Photo Aug 18, 5 08 37 PM

He was smiling and had a good time. I know because as we drove away, he asked if he could go to the next event, and participate as a staff member in September. It’s cool to see him excited at moving forward.

I reminded him that he should be proud. Each step here moves him into more rare company. I saw a note that only about 8% of kids move into Order of the Arrow, and a smaller percentage of those get their brotherhood. Less than 50% of the kids that were in his nominated group have gotten their brotherhood achievement.

Afterwards, he enjoyed a little dinner.

Photo Aug 18, 6 00 54 PM

Spicy Chicken Avacado Enchiladas

I saw this recipe from The Novice Chef recently. She’s the wife of a friend in Florida, and has some great recipes. I’ve made a few and the family has enjoyed them, especially the Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas.

After baseball, I stopped by to get a few school supplies, and while I was there, I remembered this recipe. I checked it quickly and grabbed a few things I needed and then came home. After a few chores, I had Delaney grill some chicken for me while I cleaned up, and then I started chopping and assembling the ingredients.

The cooking goes fast, so I was glad I had things separated into various bowls and ready to make the sauce. I was starting to cook and Kendall asked for one of my chicken breasts. I told her to wait and let me see what I needed for the enchiladas. A few minutes later as the scent drifted through the kitchen, she said she’d wait for enchiladas.


They were quick to cook and started going before I could get a picture. We went through 5 of the 7 I made, so not much left for today.

A great recipe, and fairly easy. Just a little prep and quick cooking, but have your ingredients for the sauce ready.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Buck Up

A tough game today. We faced the top team, and from the first inning we were getting killed. I did first, then second, then right and left, before coming back to first. No real plays, picking up some grounders that went into the outfield, and missed a hard hit liner that bounced just below my glove at first. I also missed a throw down from the catcher that was a low bouncer and just went through my legs. I had visions of a crotch shot and protected myself more than blocked the ball there, but still.

At the plate I was horrible. I got fooled twice in my first time up with an outside pitch that broke in. I should have seen the curve, but I was looking for something else. The next time I had two sliders that were inside, breaking down, and I just missed, twisting myself up. After that I had to sit an inning, just feeling a little sorry for myself. However I thought about the kids, and how I'd tell them to buck up and shake it off, so I did, going back out to first, and being the last batter up, choking up a bit and swinging smarter, with less power. A foul and then a pop up to first to end the game, but still a better at bat.

It wasn't just me. A total team collapse, with us losing in 7 innings something like 16-2 or 3. Just mistakes and poor pitching all over on our side with good hitting from the other team. Two games left next weekend, and I think I'm ready for the season to end. I've missed a lot of time, struggled some games, and am a little worn out this year.

The Dark Knight

I didn't love Batman Begins, but it was OK. I definitely liked it a bit more starting to watch some of it recently. I fell asleep during The Dark Knight, but I'd like to go back and see it again now that I've seen the Dark Knight Rises.

Tia and I had date night, with dinner and a movie. The movie was great, and despite a slightly upset stomach, I was engrossed in it and enjoyed it. The opening was great, leaving open another one, which I'm hoping for.

Not a great food day for me. Chocolate chip waffles with Kendall, then a small roast beef sandwich and a few cheezits for lunch when I was starving. Kendall and I went out and she wanted a salad, and I grabbed a piece of pizza, which I should have avoided. I think the pepperoni and jalepenos upset me. Then picking up Delaney and having a few bites of his pizza. By the time we got to dinner I wasn't very hungry.

Better now, and time for baseball.

Friday, August 17, 2012

You Didn’t Build That

What a poor choice of words, and an incredibly unfortunate pause placed before that phrase. It’s almost as funny as Romney’s introduction of Paul Ryan as “the next President of the United States." I was glad to see Romney correct that before Representative Ryan spoke.
"You didn’t build that” has become a conservative mantra, with a Romney campaign commercial using it. Funny that the guy in the commercial got a fair amount of government help to build his business.
I know this is a comedy bit in a serious piece, but that’s how I roll.
However in reading the President's speech, I had this impression. The President talked about lots of smart people, lots of hard working people, and I think that’s true. I’m somewhat tired of successful people talking about how hard they worked, as though that was the reason for their success. Plenty of other people contribute to your success. Maybe you contribute the most, but you had help. That’s not socialism, that’s a fact. I didn’t get where I was without help and support, from friends, family, teachers, colleagues, employees, bosses, and a little thing the government helped create, the Internet.
I have friends that were offended by that. Business people all over complain about the implication that they didn’t work to build their business, which isn’t my impression of the President’s meaning. It’s amazing how ignorance runs rampant and people seize on the phrase, taking that to be the meaning. Just like George H. Bush was sunk with “Read my lips… No new taxes”, another unfortunate phrase.
The President took back his words, which wasn’t reported at nearly the rate as the gaffe, but that’s the way politics, and media, work. Retractions don’t generate revenue.
All in all, it was an incredibly stupid phrasing and utterance, but I believe, a gaffe.
A few friends have said this smacks of socialism, and a socialist agenda from the Democrats and President Obama. I assume they mean the first of second definition of democratic socialism, and not the end-stage of communism. I don’t see any Democrats advocating for ownership and control of industry by the state. I need to tackle this view of socialism in another post.
In that sense, I can see how people are worried about more governmental authority over their businesses. You could argue that we’re already in this state, with various employment rules, EPA restrictions, and more that frame the boundaries under which we conduct and run businesses.
That worries me as well, and I prefer fewer restrictions, but I don’t favor a completely free market. As soon as we start to allow contracts between people to be the ultimate guideline for how business is run, and we remove the government framework, we are asking for trouble, IMHO. Fraud, deceit, and more take place under the guise of contracts. Requiring everyone to have knowledge of contract law, or pay someone to do it for them, consumers included, is unsustainable. It will not move us forward. Allowing survival of the fittest would not allow us to build centralized water and power systems. Heck, we wouldn’t even have an Internet, but rather a series of disjointed, and likely incompletely interconnected networks as we see in the TV industry where cable and satellite overlap, but don’t duplicate content.
We’d have roads and bridges built, and maintained privately. Or perhaps not maintained in places. We’d have speed limits changing randomly in places to suit individual owner’s desires. We’d have interference on our EM spectrum from different companies, less innovation, more practicality driven towards producing profit and I believe, a (larger) moral failing as people look to protect their interests and profit, at the expense of others. We’d be like some third world countries, where Darwinism seems to rule daily life.
It would be, I believe, a mess.
A completely free market is a race to the bottom. We need some structure. We need to prevent monopolies from maximizing their profits by controlling marketplaces. We need to grant monopolies in places, and provide a known structure for businesses.
And above all, we need less government. Just enough government to protect us and provide that framework, to protect public interests, but in as limited a way as possible. Pure markets don’t work, pure capitalism/socialism/communism/etc don’t work, and neither does pure Libertarianism. However I’d prefer the failed version of the latter than any other system.
Not paid for, or approved by, but in support of Gary Johnson 2012.

Late Night

After volleyball yesterday, which was so-so given that we only had a half court to practice, I dropped Kendall off at home and then raced down to the Denver SQL Server Users Group. I had a friend in town speaking, who I haven’t need since Liverpool last September, and wanted to go say hi and have a drink.

He was popular, and I only had a few minutes to chat at the meeting, and then not a lot of time afterwards either, but we did end up getting some time late at night, around 11 to chat. I got home at 12:15 and then was up at 6:00am to get kids ready for their first day of school.

Back to bed for me, and I was beat, not up until 10. A busy day today, with Delaney heading out to Scouts tonight, so I’m guessing I’ll be working a bit tomorrow.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Book #61 - Helfort’s War 5 - The Final Battle

51yCP7NCIXL._AA115_When I finished book 4, I was stunned. It ended in a cliffhanger, with Helfort attempting to leave Commitment, going away from Anna, to try and enlist the Fed’s help against the Hammers. In the Final Battle, after months of waiting, I finally get a resolution.

This book has some of the long, drawn out grinding of Helfort’s journey back to the Feds and then back to Commitment again. It’s an exciting tail, one that has a good ending, though not great. I enjoyed the book, and it wraps up the series nicely, but be warned, you need to read all 5 books, and read them relatively quickly. There were things from book 4 and earlier I’d forgotten, and I could sense references that I missed the meaning of slightly.

Very enjoyable.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cross Country Day 3

Kendall and I dropped Delaney off at practice today and then ran errands, getting her school supplies. We came back, and waited, with my having the chance to chat with the coach a bit. He told me a little about what to expect, and also said I could run with the kids if I wanted, and if it were OK with Delaney.

As the kids came back from their run down to the park, where they did some hills, I was glad to see Delaney cruising along with a group of kids, and not the last group. It was an easier day, but he didn’t look anywhere near as tired as the last few days.

He’s getting in shape.


One more merit badge on the way to Eagle for Delaney. He got his Climbing merit badge last night.

 This makes (I think) 17 merit badges. We were thinking cooking as well, but I think we were missing paperwork. He's also very close on Personal Fitness, which is one of his Eagle required badges.

He almost didn't make it after speed work at cross country. He was exhausted, and wanted to lie down. We dropped him in the truck with gatorade and a snack and he dozed and recovered for an hour and we made it to the ceremony.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Book#60 : Invasion: Alaska

From the first page, Invasion: Alaska grabbed me. I had read a bunch of Heppner's Doom Star series, and grabbed a sample of this as I headed out the door for camping. I found myself hooked and purchased the book while in camp, reading at night and then finishing it when I got home.

It's the future, not too far away where China is the major superpower, and while the US is strong, they're much weaker than in the past, having cut so much defense spending. After the glacation of the world has changed weather patterns, China is struggling to feed their people. China had previously attacked and annexed Siberia, and is the largest country. One of the ministers, seeking to grow his power, has an oil well off California blown up and then boldly suggests invading Alaska, taking the Northern oil slopes and also Anchorage to force the US to send grain to China.

The book reminds me of Clancy a bit, though it has Heppner's realistic style. We get close to some characters, learning some back story and then they're killed. That's how war goes. We see people in China and in the US being killed as the invasion blitzkriegs through the state, but then bogs down for various reasons.

The writing isn't fantastic, and you can almost predict things as they come about. We can see the mistakes being made, and guess where the battles might go one way or the other, but it's an exciting read, reminiscent of Red Storm Rising.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Cross Country - Day 1

I dropped Delaney off at Cross Country practice today, his first day of high school stuff. School doesn’t start until next week, but when we registered him for school, they listed practice every day this week.

New shoes, shorts, a jacket since there was a light drizzle, and a water bottle accompanied him. We stood at the track for a few minutes until a couple of his friends walked up. He smiled as they called his name and the three of them went to wait together on the track.

I watched a few minutes as they got started in the light rain. A warm up lap had him running a little stiffly, but not the slowest. With some work to do, I left him to it.

Photo Aug 13, 3 33 09 PM

When I picked him up, he looked OK, though walking a touch stiffly. He told me they’d run 4 miles, though he’d had to walk about half. Still that’s impressive for a kid that has probably never done that. We’ve run 2 a few times, but never 4. He was tired and hungry, but a half hour later, he was fine.

Looking forward to seeing how he likes this season.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sunday Night Shooting

Delaney wanted to shoot this weekend so after a few chores we packed a bunch of targets and flat sodas in the truck with the rifle, ammo, and ear protection and drove down to the ditch.

Delaney set up targets, putting soda cans on our hill

He then loaded the gun, getting ready to shoot

He tried shooting from a kneeling position, which was tough. He missed the soda cans 4 or 5 times

He moved to lying down and nailed a few cans

I've been trying to get him to use iron sights but he wanted to use the the scope. I let him sight it in and within 3 shots he was killing cans

A good time popping off 50 or so rounds. Need to do this more often

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Back on Track


We won today at baseball, 9 innings, 9-0, and a good game for us. Lots of good plays in the infield, a couple double plays, and some steady hitting. Even a home run for us. Not me, since the 305 fence was about 60 feet high, but someone else just dropped one over the fence.

I was 2-4, two singles into right and then two bloopers caught in the infield, however decent contact with the ball, which was good. In the field I played 2nd, 1st, and 3rd. I caught two pop ups on the corners, and then missed an infield fly call at 2nd, picked up a grounder at second, and then caught a few ones at first. A decent day, not quite solid, but not bad.

Hopefully this will carry over to next week.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Coach Steve

Yesterday was the first volleyball practice for Kendall's rec team. The coach was out of town, and so I was in charge, with a whole routine written down to tackle. I thought Kendall would go to her Elevation league, but Tia was backed up with work and trying to get ready for a race this weekend, so Kendall ended up coming with me. And I had my assistant, Delaney, ready to help.

Three of our kids were at Elevation, but I had the other 7 and we worked hard. Not as hard as the other league, but we only had an hour, and I tried to keep them moving. I learned that's really hard for one coach, especially since Delaney ended up shagging balls and helping me keep things going. I also learned a few places where we slowed down a lot and need to improve.

It was fun and I think the girls did well. Wrote up a note for the coach, and we'll see how things go, but I'm excited for another season.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Back Home

After 3 nights camping in Glenwood Springs, we got back last night and I got to sleep in my own bed. I very much appreciate how comfortable and how good my bed is after 3 nights on an air mattress. It wasn't bad camping, and the air mattress was much better than the cot, which had some hard spots and hurt my hips a bit (I roll around too much at night).

We had a nice time, and the weather was really good, but a strange, somewhat subdued trip. On the move more than in camp, everyone sleeping lots, it was a strange trip for a camping trip, but still fun. We didn't even have that much coffee, though we did get a new propane stove that worked well

Lots of river time, and the little kids enjoyed it. They rafted down 10 miles of river one day with their Aunt and her fiancee one day.

Kyle came back for a quick weekend, and it was good to see him. He's looking good and looks like he enjoys Seattle.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Book #59 - Wired

51P QixR0SL._AA115_The continuation of Amped, where Kira Miller, David Desh, and their small council of five look to change the world as enhanced, super intelligent humans. In Wired,  it’s a few years later, and they’ve set up a company to do research into technologies to help the world. They are testing a cold fusion prototype when their facility is attacked. Ross is killed, but the others escape.

It’s a similar storyline, this time a new opponent pushing for them to be hounded by the military. We find out new things the enhanced humans can do, which really push into more fiction than science again. It’s still an exciting book, but in the effort to push this to be more exciting than the last one, I don’t love the plot twists and turns, as well as the capabilities of the new humans.

I enjoyed the book, but more than a few times I was too skeptical to enjoy it. The leaps are just too great.